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Stock market news live: Dow skyrockets to best day since 1933; markets bet on stimulus

Stocks staged a monster rally on Tuesday, with the battered Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its best day since 1933, as Wall Street bet that Washington’s warring political factions will coalesce around a $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the effects of the coronavirus.

[Click here to see what’s moving markets on Wednesday, March 25.]

Negotiations over the package, meant to backstop reeling consumers forced to stay home from work and throw financial lifelines to key industries, helped major benchmarks reverse a bloodletting that’s dragged them deep into a bear market.

The Dow rallied by over 11% to close up by over 2,100 points — only a day after a sell-off virtually erased all of the gains made since President Donald Trump was elected — and its best day in nearly 90 years. The S&P 500 Index had its strongest session since 2008, while the Nasdaq turned in its best performance in 7 days.

The damage — both economic and political — from COVID-19 has stoked a widening debate over how quickly the U.S. can return to a semblance of normalcy. With his re-election chances likely to be defined by a recovery from the crisis, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for the economy to be restarted by April 12 — but market analysts have their doubts about that timetable.

So far, 591 people have died of coronavirus in the U.S. (Graphic: David Foster/Yahoo Finance)

“The current crisis is, at its core, a health policy problem resulting from the pandemic,” Eric Stein, co-director of fixed income at Eaton Vance, wrote this week.“And, it's going to be health-policy that leads us to ‘flatten the curve’ and hopefully diminish the projected death rates and help us to resume normalcy.”

Damage from the outbreak has taken a massive toll on small and local businesses, as well as the country’s largest corporations, as residents practice social distancing and shun leisure and travel. These jarring, if temporary, societal dislocations have been aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 46,000 in the U.S. as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The repeat stalling of the Senate’s bill came in the wake of U.S. Federal Reserve unleashing its own new and extensive measures designed keep corporate credit flowing, and other critical parts of the economy functioning smoothly. The new program included unprecedented measures from the Fed, including purchases of eligible corporate bonds from companies and exchange-traded funds, and purchases of commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Stein wrote that “the crisis can also benefit from good fiscal policy, by and large, to help drive the economy forward, whether it's helping businesses, municipalities and workers. In my view, monetary policy plays a key role in ensuring the markets are functioning and in providing working capital credit to the broader economy.”

4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks stage a huge rally ahead of stimulus

Stocks surged on Tuesday as investors bet on a stimulus package clearing Congress.

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:00 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +208.99 (+9.34%) to 2,446.39

  • Dow (^DJI): +2,093.11 (+11.26%) to 20,685.04

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +557.18 (+8.12%) to 7,417.86

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.49 (+2.10%) to $23.85 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$90.10 (+5.75%) to $1,657.70 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.2 bps to yield 0.8160%

1:16 p.m. ET: Stocks extend gains

Stocks continued to march higher during Tuesday’s session. The Dow and S&P 500 were each up more than 7%.

The Energy sector led gains in the S&P 500, with the sector outperforming with a 11.7% advance. Chevron led gains in the Dow, followed by Boeing.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 1:20 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,396.11, +158.71 (+7.09%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 20,128.28, +1,536.35 (+8.26%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,245.23, +384.57 (+5.59%)

  • Crude (CL=F): #23.14 per barrel, -$0.22 (-0.94%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,652.10, +$84.50 (+5.39%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): yielding 0.837%, up 7 basis points

11:15 a.m. ET: Gold rallies, suggesting investors are done selling (for now)

One of the more curious features of the current market volatility has been gold (GC=F), which hasn’t behaved much like a safe-haven as traders liquidate positions. The Fed’s “Big Bertha” stimulus, which several market commentators have branded “QE-infinity” means that bullion’s sell-off may be done in the short term (especially with the dollar weakening), and investors are starting to focus on the ugly fundamentals to come.

10:40 a.m. ET: Air travel industry to suffer $252 billion revenue hit in 2020 as companies face ‘gravest crisis’: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) again revised its expectations for the air travel industry’s revenue damage induced by the coronavirus outbreak, and now sees an even deeper reduction over last year.

Air passenger revenue could drop by $252 billion in 2020, representing a 44% decline over 2019, IATA said in a statement Tuesday. Global airlines will require $200 billion in liquidity support “simply to make it through,” the organization said.

At the beginning of March, IATA saw $113 billion in lost revenue this year for the passenger airline industry. However, this prediction came before global authorities began imposing strict travel restrictions that undercut the international air travel market.

“The airline industry faces its gravest crisis. Within a matter of a few weeks, our previous worst case scenario is looking better than our latest estimates,” IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. “But without immediate government relief measures, there will not be an industry left standing.”

10:25 a.m. ET: Netflix soaring as more people on lockdown

“Quarantine and chill” jokes aside, Netflix (NFLX) is getting a huge boost from the U.S. economic shutdown. More states and cities forcing businesses to close — and keeping people off the streets — is translating to more watchers and higher subscriptions. The streaming giant’s market cap is now higher than Disney’s (DIS) which in theory should also be seeing a coronavirus boost to its Disney-Plus platform.

Netflix’s stock is up over 1% on the session around $364, while Disney is surging by nearly 12% on the day above $94. Both are off their 52 week highs amid the market carnage — but Netflix is decidedly closer to its peak near $394.

10:05 a.m. ET: No daylight between Biden, Trump ahead of election

Political betting site Smarkets show both former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump as have a 46% shot of winning the general election in November, with Paddy Power showing the president slightly edging out his challenger. As early as February, most predictive markets saw Trump leading at 60%, but Biden's surge and the coronavirus crisis have chipped away at his odds.

According to Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets:

"President Trump’s daily media briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are some of the most serious of his presidency. How he handles this global crisis, and its effect on his much-cherished American economy, will be fresh in the electorate’s mind come November, should the 2020 election go ahead as planned. If he shuts down the US for months, the economy will be damaged, if he reopens it after a few weeks, lives could be put at risk.

It comes as Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s former communications director turned antagonist, said he now believes Trump has an “even money” shot to win in November, based largely on his rebound from his initial shaky response to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Biden has taken heat from even some Democrats for his lack of visibility as the crisis grows more acute.

9:45 a.m. ET: IHS/Markit Purchasing Manager Index slumps to worst levels since 2009

The U.S. manufacturing sector is doing just as badly as you’d expect in a pandemic, with IHS/Markit’s PMI for March showing the sector contracted by more than expected. The flash reading plunged to a record low of 39.1, all the way from a reading of 49.4 in February and well below consensus forecasts.

For markets, much of March’s data is likely to be baked into prices, with investors now focused on stimulus efforts — and a timetable for when the economy (and life in America) can begin normalizing.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks surge at the opening bell

Growing hopes for consensus on a coronavirus economic rescue package sent the Dow skyrocketing by over 1,000 points at the opening bell, as investors hoped that Congress and the White House will break the political log jam as the pandemic keeps the economy shuttered.

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:30 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,361.77, +124.37 (+5.56%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 19,753.78, +1,161.85 (+6.25%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,207.26, +346.59 (+5.05%)

  • Crude (CL=F): $24.31 per barrel, +0.95 (+4.07%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,671.90, +$104.30 (+6.65%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): yielding 0.8580, up 9.4 basis points

7:15 a.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures rally to hit “limit up”

Contracts on the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq extended gains Tuesday morning in an at least temporary bid to recover some steep losses from recent sessions.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:15 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,33.50, +5.09% or +113 points

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 19,408.00 +4.93% or +911 points

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,321.5, +4.82% or +337.00 points

  • Crude (CL=F): $24.60 per barrel, +5.31% or +$1.24

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,662.40 per ounce, +$94.80 or +6.05%

  • 10-year Treasury note (^TNX): yielding 0.805%, up 3.8 bps

6:02 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open higher, reversing some losses from the regular session

Futures for each of the three major indices rose Monday evening as investors looked to Washington policymakers to provide relief in the face of the escalating domestic coronavirus outbreak.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,246.5, +1.17% or +26 points

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 18,733.00, +1.28% or +236 points

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,062.75, +1.12% or +78.25 points

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 10: An empty trading floor is seen after the closing of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 10, 2020 in New York City. Amid new sanctions on Iran and 145k more U.S. jobs added and wage growth in December, the Dow topped the 29,000 milestone before pulling back to 28,823.77. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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